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Consumers may embrace alcohol abstinence in January as brands help consumers 'dry' out

Brooke DiPalma
·Associate Producer
·2 min read
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After a year of at-home cocktails, virtual happy hours and a surge in drinking wrought by the COVID-19 crisis, January may be the perfect time to “dry” out.

Traditionally, the first month of the year marks a month of alcohol abstinence that can be traced back to 1942. Most bars around the country remained shuttered for most of 2020 because of the pandemic, yet stress induced drinking at home became one of the hallmarks of a turbulent year.

Enter “Dry January,” which provides the perfect excuse for consumers to step away from their at-home bars. According to Alcohol Change UK this time around may be the most highly participated month of drying out yet: the British charity estimates that nearly 7 million people plan to participate, up sharply from 3.9 million in 2020.

Alcohol Change noted that one in three drinkers felt they drank more in 2020 than the year prior, and at least 20% were concerned about their levels of drinking. Some cited drinking as a coping mechanism for COVID-19.

With those factors in mind, consumers will get a helping hand from some brands trying to encourage more responsible drinking habits. Heineken 0.0, a non-alcoholic beer, recently announced it will introduce Heineken 0.0 in 12-pack cans in select markets this month, with a national launch slated for March 2021.

(COURTESY: Volvic)
(COURTESY: Volvic)

“We’re picking up on the continuing trend of adults abstaining or reducing alcohol consumption,”Chuck Boddy, Senior Brand Manager of Heineken USA said recently. The company views it as “an opportunity to boost business during one of the traditionally slower months of the year.”

In 2020, Lagunitas Brewing Company — a subsidiary of Heineken (HEINY) — released a non-alcoholic IPA, joining other major beer companies like Budweiser Zero (BUD) and Molson Coors’ Molson Exel (TAP). Boston Beer Company (SAM) also plans to introduce a non-alcoholic hazy IPA Samuel Adams “Just the Haze” in 2021.

Separately, Volvic, the natural spring water brand from Danone (BN.PA), recently debuted a giveaway to replace a few “wet bars” with a “dry” equivalent that comes with one month’s supply of Volvic bottled water.

Participants can enter the contest by posting on Instagram using the hashtag “VolvicStrongJan,” and tagging the company’s handle (@Volvic_USA). There will be three winners announced here in the United States.

Brooke DiPalma is a producer and reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma.

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